NBC, Time Warner Won't Budge on Flash for Apple iPad: Report

Apple is in conflict with Time Warner and NBC Universal, among other media conglomerates, over the iPad's lack of support for Adobe Flash. The media companies are refusing to pay the costs associated with converting their content into a Flash-free format to run on the bestselling Apple tablet, according to a New York Post article, which is cited at the root of the pushback. These companies may also have their own content-distribution plans that make them more reluctant to plunge feet-first into the Apple ecosystem. Apple and Adobe have been fighting a back-and-forth for some months over Flash's role on the Web.

Time Warner and NBC Universal are pushing back against Apple, according to reports, with both companies refusing to reformat their media libraries into an Adobe Flash-free format capable of running on the bestselling iPad tablet.

According to a May 27 article in the New York Post, one media executive indicated that the upcoming Google TV, which ports Internet video content onto a user's television, could weaken Apple's position as a high-tech media portal.

Time Warner and NBC Universal have apparently been joined in the pushback by other media conglomerates, which go unnamed by the Post. The expense of converting existing media libraries to a Flash-free format, the article suggests, is a key motivator behind that resistance. Time Warner could also be concerned about its own plans to provide content through online channels.

Other media companies, including Disney (where Apple CEO Steve Jobs sits on the board) and CNN, have been more accommodating, providing content in an HTML format supported by the iPad.

Although Flash supports rich-content playback for many of the Web's most prominent sites, Adobe has found itself playing defense in the past few months against Apple, which prohibits Flash from its popular mobile devices such as the iPhone and iPad.

"Flash has not performed well on mobile devices," Jobs wrote in an April letter titled "Thoughts on Flash" and posted to Apple's corporate Website. "We have routinely asked Adobe to show us Flash performing well on a mobile device, any mobile device, for a few years now. We have never seen it."

Adobe responded with a substantial public-relations effort. In a February conversation with eWEEK, executives from the company insisted that Flash would remain ubiquitous on the Web, and that the porting of Adobe Flash Player 10.1 onto Android and other smartphone operating systems would ensure the brand's relevancy as the tech world increasingly focuses on mobile. General availability for Flash Player 10.1 is now expected by June 17, according to Adobe.

Adobe offered eWEEK a beta version of Flash Player 10.1, loaded onto a Nexus One smartphone running the prerelease version of Android 2.2, dubbed "Froyo." Testing was limited to WiFi, thanks to the device's lack of SIM card. In testing, the Flash Player 10.1 beta seemed to offer robust battery life and smooth streaming video and animations, but long load times on many Websites could frustrate some users.